The Road to Passchendaele Part Six Update – A Return to St. Julien Dressing Station Cemetery

Ah well, here we go again.  Typical Flanders weather.  The signpost says St-Juliaan (St. Julien during the war), if you can see it through the spray.

Although luckily for us, when we arrived at our destination shortly afterwards, the rain had thoughtfully stopped for a while.

Last time we were here this cemetery was in quite a state…

…and if you want to see what it looked like, along with all the relevant information concerning the place, I suggest you read the original St. Julien Dressing Station Cemetery post before continuing, as I am not going to repeat it all here, this post being purely to show you how it now looks post-renovation.

Anyway, I’m pleased to say that everything looks much better now.

Cemetery entrance (above & below), now nicely restored.

On entering the cemetery the fifteen headstones of Plot I Row A (above & below) are immediately in front of us.

The Cross of Sacrifice, with special memorials along the wall to the left, and Plot III on the right.

The grave of R.A.F. pilot Lieutenant Cecil Dutton Darlington, Plot I Row A and the cemetery entrance behind on the right,…

…and the same corner of the cemetery last time we visited.

Panning left from the previous shot, Plot II Row A ahead of us; we shall take a closer look at the headstone on the left, the one with a photograph placed at its base, later.

Special memorials (left) and the Cross of Sacrifice, with Plots III (left background) & IV (right) beyond.

Cross of Sacrifice.

Cross of Sacrifice, the lone grave of Cecil Darlington to the left, and the special memorials (also below) on the right.

The graves of these men, who are all known to be buried here, were lost during the fighting in 1918.

The three rows of Plot III (above & below)…

…with the single grave of Second Lieutenant Robert Dyott Willmot, in the background of both previous shots, the only headstone in Plot III Row C (and having failed to take a close-up last time, I also failed to notice that this headstone was once broken near the base, and repaired, rather than replaced by a new one).

Panoramic view from Plot III looking south across the cemetery.

Plot IV,…

…and to its right, Plot II, the largest plot in the cemetery (above & below).  The third, fourth & fifth headstones from the left are men of the Royal Naval Division, Royal Marine Light Infantry and the Royal Marines, all of whom fought here in October 1917.

Plot II, with Plot I Row C protruding into shot on the right,…

…and at the far end of Plot II Row A,…

…the grave of Able Seaman James Robb, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, 390th Machine Gun Company, Royal Naval Division.

Unidentified burials in Plot II (above &  photos below).

Of the 428 men buried or commemorated here, 180 are unidentified.

Artillerymen in Plot II Row E.

Looking from east to west across the cemetery, Plot IV ahead of us, Plot II to the left.

Plot II, Row F nearest the camera.  As the cemetery plan shows, the three rows at the eastern end of the plot are at ninety degrees to the first five rows.

Plot II, Row G in the foreground, Row F behind.

More unidentified burials, this time in Plot II Row F (above) & G (below).

Plot II Row H (G & F behind).

Plot II Rows K & J (above & following three photos).  There is no Row I.

Private George Tapp, the only New Zealand burial here, is on the left nearest the camera.

Plot I Rows E & D (above & below).

Single grave of Private W. Parker, Royal Sussex Regiment, at the end of Plot I Row B.

Also in Plot I Row B, Lance Corporal Alfred Stacey M.M. is the only Newfoundlander buried in the cemetery,…

…and at the end of the row, as we saw much earlier,…

…the grave of Sapper Charles Rourke, with faded photo.

And finally, back at Plot I Row A.  I gather that shortly before the renovations (which actually took place in early 2013), the trees that had stood in the cemetery for ninety years had been cut down, much to many local (and others) people’s annoyance.  Doubtless the CWGC had good reasons, and at least they have planted some new ones as replacements, as you can see in the left background.

So, it all looks a lot better than last time, I think you’ll agree.

Just before we finish, a few views from the road south out of St-Juliaan,…

…looking back towards the cemetery.

While we are in St-Juliaan, we shall pay our respects at the village war memorial before we leave.  Next post. And if you haven’t seen the cemetery mid-renovation and would like to, click here.

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4 Responses to The Road to Passchendaele Part Six Update – A Return to St. Julien Dressing Station Cemetery

  1. Owen Davies says:

    My great uncle, Bombadier Trefor Rees, is I think commemorated in the 4th Special Memorial from the left. I plan to visit next July when my children visit Scotland and Belgium with their school pipe band and Caledonian dancers. Their school was established in 1919 as a memorial to South Australian Scots who served and died in WW1, so it will be honouring the school’s centenary. A work colleague visited a couple of years ago and took a couple of photos for me when she was visiting her grandfathers grave in 1 of the nearby Australian cemeteries.

  2. Magicfingers says:

    Hello Owen. I was a little confused until I realised his name is Trefor Rees Francis. And he is indeed commemorated on Special Memorial 4. When you visit, consider that one of the unknown headstones in the cemetery is quite likely him. Thanks for your comment – sounds like a fantastic all-round trip you have planned.
    More St. Julien here if you hadn’t already found it:

  3. D Gareth Williams says:

    Trefor Rees Francis was my great uncle, from Treherbert, Rhondda. He was my grandmother’s younger brother. My grandmother was killed during the second world war on April 8th, 1941 during an air raid on Coventry Next month, my brother (also called Trefor) and I will be visiting the cemetery and we will be following in our father’s footsteps as he, during the second world war, walked into the cemetery by chance, and came upon his uncle’s memorial. In our family, we have a postcard written by Trefor, shortly before his death, to our father who was three years old at the time.

    • Magicfingers says:

      Thanks for taking the time to comment Gareth, A fascinating little story if I may say so. Have an excellent trip next month.

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